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Thread: Physical Copies Going Away?

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Some1's Avatar
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    Default Physical Copies Going Away?

    Hi everyone!

    For a long time now, Steam has been rising in popularity, so much so that it'll even have its own console (Steam Box). In the past generation, the emphasis on digital media was greatly increased, and now, with the release of the PS4 and Xbox One, the industry has shifted even more in this direction.

    I can see why digital games are a good alternative. They offer a quick way to access your games, not to mention there aren't any costs for actual disks and warehouses. When it comes to indie developers, digital is usually the only option, and I understand that and don't mind it at all. However, larger titles... Well, when I look at my humble game collection, I see my games. Stuff that I've purchased. Stuff that I can hold in my hands and feel the weight of. I don't mind having to put the disk it - doing just that makes me feel like the game is mine and for me to play. Which it is. Going online, getting Kega Fusion and downloading 800+ games just wouldn't be the same.

    Going to a store to get a new game is something I like a lot. I need to wait untill I get home when I can plop it in. Getting a parcel wrapped in brown paper off of the interwebs is like getting a little present. No amount of people shouting from the rooftops that physical is going will change that feeling, and because of this, I feel a little sad when faced with the fact that they're right - that in the future, I won't be able to step into my room and glance at my game collection the same way I can do with my comics. It'll all be in one big puffy cloud.

    But that's just how I feel. What do you guys think? Do you like physical copies or do you think they're pointless?
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  2. #2
    Great Puma (Level 12) JSoup's Avatar
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    Physical copies aren't going to go away any time soon. Even if digital is theoretically cheaper and more efficient, people are always going to be drawn to something that looks cool to display.

    Edit: Let me clarify that I'm speaking broadly and not specifically of games.
    Last edited by JSoup; 01-09-2014 at 05:19 PM.




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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Yes in time they can and probably will go away unless consumers visibly and strongly fight it. The gaming industry doesn't want to have the new and used market like cars do. They want to control it all, and they want to control how and when you access it and for the price only they dictate. The stumbling block right now is infrastructure they can't control, the internet. With games into the gigabytes in size these days wimpy 10/100mbit connections take too damn long for the majority of average and casual consumers to put up with downloads like that. My brother works for a third party that has serviced games to all three of the hardware makers and it's an active thing game developers want to have happen and at least two of the three hardware makers are totally fine with it too (ie: not Nintendo) which has been well covered in the shitstorm over the One and their obtrusive DRM and no used games they got shamed out of. Going forward if the internet of the US got to the gigabit level in general for the majority of the populated areas that buy their goods, they'd look into making hardware that don't have disc drives, they'd be boxes like the Ouya you download everything to, but could access through a USB or card to drop stuff on there potentially too. In turn with the death of used games and sharing, they'd lower the price of games because they'd no longer have to print discs, boxes, sleeves, paperwork, deal with shipping boxes, packing materials, and the people and logistics involved. Games could come down to 1/2 the price they are now, but again you lose all your rights, it would be a long term digital rental world where you won't be playing your favorites 20 years later unless they're re-sold and re-emulated to you on a newer box if it's picked up again.

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    Peach (Level 3)
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    I'm essentially done with "modern gaming". I do play new games—some of them—on Steam, but only when they hit dollar bottoms. To me, that justifies the lack of physical copies. Plus, there are hundreds of older games I still want to buy, so I don't feel the need to keep collecting newer stuff. I'm OK with the cut-off, and I'd be more than happy to see modern console gaming go away, or switch entirely to physical.

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    i'm sure sooner or later it will all be digital but not yet.

    There are too many people, at least in the USA, that just don't have access to good internet (myself included) who would be unable to actually use a fully digital system. If I had to download a 10gb game, it would take me days.
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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Rickstilwell1's Avatar
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    If it's physical I will pay money for it without regretting it. If it's digital I feel like either getting it free or paying next to nothing because who knows what will happen to it. Plus paid digital games have to compete with freeware. I'd rather go after the freeware games than the paid ones for digital. The only time I buy these digital games are when they're a part of a series I already know is good.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Kirby (Level 13) Griking's Avatar
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    While in the past I've always enjoyed purchasing physical copies of games it's gotten to the point where there's sadly no point any more.

    With the exception of Collector's Editions game boxes have been minimized to no more than a standard DVD style case and if we're lucky a 2-3 page flyer in it. There's no more big boxes, no more full color manuals and maps. Developers are basically putting the cheapest most minimal product that they can into stores just to satisfy the people who haven't bought into digital download yet.

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    We're still a ways off. There's too much money circulating in physical. The music industry has been deep in digital longer than anything else, and you can still walk into a store's CD section. Granted, it's smaller than it ever was, but the market remains in place.

    While the games/movie industry desperately want all control over their media, there is also a pool of billions sitting in trade value at places like GameStop which turns into added sales. You can't just turn that away overnight.

    And if there is any myth that could somehow be dispelled forever, it's that digital is somehow cheaper than physical for consumers. It's exactly the opposite.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Griking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamereviewgod View Post

    And if there is any myth that could somehow be dispelled forever, it's that digital is somehow cheaper than physical for consumers. It's exactly the opposite.
    Perhaps for console games but in the PC gaming world discounts are much deeper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    Games could come down to 1/2 the price they are now

    Nah... I don't see that happening. Not with MS, Sony, or especially Nintendo.

    Throughout history every technological innovation that was heralded as driving prices down pretty much amounted to a tiny temporary band-aid then they go right back up.

    Remember when CD's were going to be the next breakthrough because they were so much cheaper to manufacture than using actual ROM chips? Sega CD games were just as expensive as normal cartridge games, with the exception of behemoths like Phantasy Star IV, Virtua Racing, and 32x games. Fast forward to today where manufacturing costs are pennies but the poor widdle publishers have such high development costs we should be thanking them for releasing the latest blockbuster for $59.

    Why is Call of Duty: Ghosts $59 at a brick and mortar and $59 on XBL? Better yet, why is Call of Duty 3 $29 to download yet you couldn't give a physical copy away? Who on earth would pay that? Ghosts, along with several other holiday blockbusters, was marked down to $39 at tons of places for nearly 2 months prior to Christmas. The huge Xbox Live sale that was supposed to knock our socks off (and lasted one frickin' day) marked it down to $49.

    I can either buy the latest 3DS Zelda for $39 in the store and have a physical copy to play on any system, or I can buy it for the same exact price on Nintendo's e-shop and have it locked to whatever console I buy it on. Wait, maybe I'll pick up the NES Virtual Console port of Donkey Kong on their huge e-shop X-Mas sale.... it was marked down from the outrageous price of $5 to a much more reasonable $4.

    Steam has mega sales, iOS and Android platform stuff is dirt cheap, but that's all lumped together in a whole other economic system. Normal console publishers expect mega-bucks and will never lower their prices as long as people are willing to fork it out.

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    You can have my physical copies when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlastProcessing402 View Post
    You can have my physical copies when you pry them from my cold dead hands.
    Is there really any benefit to a physical copy when the package is minimal and they're tied to a digital key anyway?

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Rickstilwell1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griking View Post
    Is there really any benefit to a physical copy when the package is minimal and they're tied to a digital key anyway?
    You can always bypass digital keys with hacking or future cheat devices.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    The physical copy you can keep until the day you die. The digital rental(download) you can keep until the hardware breaks, because eventually they won't host the files on a server anymore and you're out a purchase then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanooki View Post
    The physical copy you can keep until the day you die. The digital rental(download) you can keep until the hardware breaks, because eventually they won't host the files on a server anymore and you're out a purchase then.
    Just because you have a physical copy of something doesn't mean it will continue to work. There are plenty of dead cartridges and CD-Roms in the world and frankly, having multiple digital copies of something is probably a much safer approach to preservation long-term.

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    Apple (Level 5) ScourDX's Avatar
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    I don't see physical going away soon until Internet becomes available in the developing world and ISP stop their cap limit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScourDX View Post
    I don't see physical going away soon until Internet becomes available in the developing world and ISP stop their cap limit.
    Developing world? There are a ton of places in the United States that either can't get broadband or anything affordable.

    Physical will be around for a while but I think digital will edge it out in the next 5-10 years. As someone said, you can back it up and if it can't run, someone will probably have a hack for it to run in a virtual machine.

    NASA I think went through an issue years back where they had data tapes they wanted to examine but the hardware to read them no longer existed, or something like that.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Rickstilwell1's Avatar
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    The best thing is to have both digital and physical copies of the media so in case one or the other is damaged, you can use one or the other to make a new copy of the one that was lost. Hard drive dies? Replace the drive and restore the content from disc. Disc breaks? Use the hard drive file to create a new one. You can never ensure that one will last forever without the help of the other. It's just too bad this is only achievable through hacked consoles or hacked repros and flash cartridges.
    [quote name='Shidou Mariya' date='Nov 17 2010, 10:05 PM' post='4889940']
    I'm a collector, but only to a certain extent.
    Not as extreme as Rickstilwell though.[/quote]


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post
    Just because you have a physical copy of something doesn't mean it will continue to work. There are plenty of dead cartridges and CD-Roms in the world and frankly, having multiple digital copies of something is probably a much safer approach to preservation long-term.
    I agree with this. The real problem, as I've stated many times, is DRM. If DRM was not in the picture, more people would be accepting of a digital only world.

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    Kirby (Level 13) Tanooki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojay1997 View Post
    Just because you have a physical copy of something doesn't mean it will continue to work. There are plenty of dead cartridges and CD-Roms in the world and frankly, having multiple digital copies of something is probably a much safer approach to preservation long-term.
    Your point being? Unless you've run down to the point of having no more copies around to buy, it can be easily replaced. A digital rental can vanish once the support is gone, a 30 year old cart I can go buy another.

    I'd be on board with digital if any of it was allowed to be copied and backed up for later use allowing me to control what I spend my money on. Steam is kind of like that as you can store the downloads but it's stuck with that crap loader, but GoGames.com has individual installers so anything there you can buy and keep to reinstall whether they continue to keep it up there or not (for purchase.) Recently Fallout dropped off there, but if you bought it, it's in your locker or you kept a copy of the installer.

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